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7 Ways Thinking like a Detective Will Make You Smarter

Being Vulnerable Is Being Smart

By being authentic, Clarice disarmed Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s intellectual superiority. Instead of trying to compete with him, her vulnerability made Hannibal more cooperative.

Being vulnerable reflects the best on you and others. You don’t need to outsmart others to find a great solution. Vulnerability is not a weakness, but a superpower — what we reflect comes back to us.

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7 Ways Thinking like a Detective Will Make You Smarter

7 Ways Thinking like a Detective Will Make You Smarter

https://medium.com/personal-growth/7-ways-thinking-like-a-detective-will-make-you-smarter-90c7ec688cc1

medium.com

8

Key Ideas

Deduction and Mindfulness Go Together

Sherlock Holmes observed facts without being judgmental. He would construct a hypothesis about what he believed happened. He would then search for more evidence to logically validate his initial statements. The detective deconstructed what happened — piece by piece.

All Stories Are Possible — Until They Are Not

Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot encourages everybody to tell their story.  Stories help Poirot comprehend what kind of person the victim was. And to uncover the murderer’ motive.

Storytelling is powerful to uncover insights, not just the truth. Design Thinking — a process for creative problem solving — leverages the power of stories to detect human desires and needs.

Be Relentless

Sarah Linden is the least self-aware television detective.

Her dedication to her work and stubbornness are unbeatable. She never gives up. Even though she fails in many aspects of her life — like being a mother. But, she keeps showing up and trying to do better. She tries again, fails again, and fails better.

Seek for the Aha! Moment

Detective Humphrey Goodman is very clumsy. He often forgets things and usually finds himself with nothing to take notes on.

Humphrey has a knack at being able to solve murders by making sense out of small details

An obsession with small details helps trigger an Aha! moment. Connecting what seems unrelated. But, when all the pieces fall into place, the solution ends makes sense.

Being Vulnerable Is Being Smart

By being authentic, Clarice disarmed Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s intellectual superiority. Instead of trying to compete with him, her vulnerability made Hannibal more cooperative.

Being vulnerable reflects the best on you and others. You don’t need to outsmart others to find a great solution. Vulnerability is not a weakness, but a superpower — what we reflect comes back to us.

Follow Your Intuition

Father Brown’s methods tend to be more intuitive rather than deductive. The Catholic priest is a detective in disguise.  He overplays appearing clumsy, and naive. Brown uses empathy to get inside the criminal mind. He can see what others can’t — that’s how he solve crimes.

Brown reminds us that you don’t need a formal title or expertise to be good at solving problems. His life as a priest turned him into an intuitive human behavior expert.

Find Your Sidekick

Sherlock had Watson. Linden has Holder. Ellie Miller is Alec Hardy perfect sidekick. She counterbalances his rational and relentless spirit.

A great duo is where both parts can complement and balance each other. We all need a partner in crime to help us see what we miss. Our sidekick is an accountability partner — it increases our chances of success.

Solving problems is about embracing different mindsets

Finding the solution is not enough — you want to eliminate the problem.

As P. D. James said: ‘What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.”

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Systematic approach
Most people jump straight from finding a problem to attempting to solve it.

Having a systematic approach to how you deal with problems, as opposed to just going by gut and feelings, ca...

Study the problem first

Detectives and investigators use the process. They ask both obvious and unthinkable questions.

Get close and collect information about how the problem is manifesting.  Understand where the problem does and doesn’t happen, when the problem started, and how often the problem occurs to generate critical insight for the problem-solving effort.

Question for great answers
  • Don’t look for solutions immediately; Keep redefining the problem until you arrive at the root cause.
  • Don’t try to guess the solution; try to understand how the obstacles, or challenges manifest first.
  • Gather data to analyze all potential root causes.
  • Consider all options, regardless of how irrelevant they currently appear.
  • Find a way to connect the dots. Make better analogies. One good analogy is worth three hours of discussion.

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Creative Thinking Defined

Creativity is not just reserved for artistic tasks such as writing, painting or composing music.

Creative thinking is the ability to consider something – a conflict between empl...

Top Creative Thinking Skills
  • Analytical. Before thinking creatively about something, you first have to be able to understand it.
  • Open-Minded. Setting aside any assumptions or biases you may have, and look at things in a completely new way.
  • Problem Solving. Using your creativity to solve important issues.
  • Organization. Being able to structure a plan of action with clear goals and deadlines is vital.
  • Communication. Strong written and oral communication skills to communicate your solutions effectively.
Examples of Creative Thinking
Generally, anything that involves an “aha” moment is considered creative.
  • Artistic Creativity. You don't have to be an artist for your work to have an artistic element. For example: Composing a new fundraising script for volunteers or devising a lesson plan that will engage students.
  • Creative Problem-Solving. For example: Coming up with new procedures to improve quality or suggesting a way to improve customer service.
  • Creativity in STEM. For example: Constructing a research model to test a hypothesis or devising a computer program to automate a billing process.
Think like Sherlock Holmes

“What Sherlock Holmes offers isn’t just a way of solving a crime. It is an entire way of thinking."

"Holmes provides... an education in improving our faculty of mindful thought...

Engagement
As children, we are remarkably aware to the world around us. This attention wanes over time as we allow more pressing responsibilities to attend to and demands on our minds to address. And as the demands on our attention increase so, too, does our actual attention decrease.

 As it does so, we become less and less able to know or notice our own thought habits and more and more allow our minds to dictate our judgments and decisions, instead of the other way around.

Pitfalls of the Untrained Brain

Daniel Kahneman believes there are two systems for organizing and filtering knowledge: 

  • System one is real-time. This system makes judgments and decisions before our mental apparatus can consciously catch up. 
  • System two, on the other hand, is a slow process of thinking based on critical examination of evidence. Konnikova refers to these as System Watson and System Holmes.

To move from a System Watson- to a System Holmes-governed thinking takes mindfulness plus motivation.

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See and observe

It is important to both see and to observe. As Holmes told Dr Watson: “You see, but you do not observe,”

This mental alertness, or mindfulness, is cultivated with deliberate pra...

Why mindfulness is so important to us

Over the past several decades, researchers have discovered

  • Mindfulness can lead to improvements in physiological well-being and emotional regulation.
  • Mindfulness can even enhance our levels of wisdom, both in terms of dialectism (being cognizant of change and contradictions in the world) and intellectual humility (knowing your own limitations)
  • Mindfulness can lead to improved problem solving, enhanced imagination, and better decision making.
Mindfulness is good against inattentional blindness

When we focus on one particular element in a situation or problem, our brains can cause all the other elements to ‘disappear', so that we will have no conscious experience of having ever been exposed to them.

Inattentional blindness illustrates the limitations of our attentional abilities. We can’t ever multitask the way we think we can. Something will get lost. 

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See Relationships Like A Therapist

Relationships nowadays are regularly in the doldrums, with certain factors that tend to ruin them. These same factors can be ‘reverse-engineered’ to help us strengthen and improve these relations.

Validate, Not Solve

When someone talks about their problems, we are jumping in the problem-solving mode straight away. While dealing with people, this approach can backfire. A better approach is to just listen and validate their struggles, make them feel heard and understood.

Actions Have Underlying Functions

Many times, the external appearance of behaviour isn’t the full story and has underlying functions. It is just a symptom and not the problem.

Example: When a teenager is mad for no reason, it helps to understand the underlying problems they usually have in this age, and be compassionate.

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Holmes practices mindfulness

Mindfulness means focusing on only one problem or activity at a time.

Our brain cannot do two things at once. “What we believe is multi-tasking is really the brain switchin...

Organize Your Brain Attic to remember more

The “brain attic” is Holmes’s analogy for the human mind and how we store information.  Just consuming information leads to mental clutter that gets difficult to access when you need it.

We are more likely to remember something if we connect it to a sensory experience or previous action, like writing or connecting memories to smells or sounds.

Take a brain break if you want to be more creative

Holmes plays the violin, because it takes him out of his thinking mind and places him in a purely physical state.

“Taking mental holidays can be incredibly productive for creativity", even something as simple as taking a walk in the park during your lunch break instead of eating at your desk.

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Bullying: a form of violence

Bullying is intended to dominate a victim into submission.

When we're under attack, our rational minds shut down and move into the fight-or-flight mode. When we can't fight or run away, we fr...

Workplace bullying 

Bullying in the business world is more masked:

  • Taking credit for others' work. 
  • Shaming others in public.
  • Inventing faults to accuse team members when superiors are around.
  • Concerned with building a reputation as a hard-driving manager that is focused on continuous improvement.

The staff members usually resort to passivity to survive. It is true that people leave bosses, not jobs.

Bullying to seem smart

A colleague may use their position of authority to demean and dominate others. They may seem poised and confident and can be responsible for substantial billings. But little cracks start showing when coworkers become hesitant to work with the person or even threaten to leave.

Coworkers note that she is superior and disdainful, and ignores comments. No-one may critique her solution. She rolls her eyes when they speak up.

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Understand the requirements
To solve a problem, you have to understand exactly what the problem is

When you start solving a problem, be sure to understand the starting point, the end goal, and the obstacles in be...

Understand the size of the problem

It's important to understand what is how big the problem is.

Use questions like:

  • How many requests the system should satisfy?
  • What is the expected response time?
  • How many resources do we have?
  • What about deadlines?
Stand on the shoulders of giants

The chance someone else already solved your problem is high. All you have to do is a search in the literature to find out if there is a solution for a problem matching your use case. There is no point in reinventing the wheel.

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Basic steps to solving any problem
  • Understand the Problem, so you know you're actually focusing on the the real issue at hand.
  • Create a Plan, so you have a series of actionable steps to follow.
  • ...
Understand the Problem

Often the most difficult step, because it's easy to focus on the wrong part of the problem, or look at the problem too broadly.

The first thing you need to do is reduce it to its simplest and purest form so you know exactly what you're dealing with. While you're doing this, you need to ask yourself questions to make sure you're focusing on the right things. 

Create a Plan

You need a plan with actionable steps. Ask yourself what's barring you from moving forward and make step one. Step one will open doors to other steps. 

Consider which steps will open more doors, add them to the plan, and keep doing that until you get to your solution. Things will change as you act on the plan and you'll need to adapt, so it's best to keep your plan somewhat open-ended and try to include steps that involve preparing for trouble you can foresee. 

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Difficult to convince

It can feel impossible to persuade someone with strong views. This is in part because we look for information to confirm what we already know and avoid or dismiss facts that are opposed to our core...

What resonates with your opponent

We all tend to overrate the power of arguments we find convincing, and wrongly think the other side will be converted. It is pointless to argue a point that your opponents have already dismissed.

The answer is not to simply expose people to another point of view. Find out what resonates with them. Frame your message with buzzwords that reflect their values.

Use moral framing

To try and sway the other side, use their morals against them. People have stable morals that influence their worldview. 

However, reframing in terms of values might not turn your opponent's view, but can soften his stance and get him to listen to counterarguments.

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